College football: USF Bulls scouting glance

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun

Florida (1-0) vs. USF (0-1)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday. TV: ABC. Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa.

Last week: The Bulls weren’t necessarily thinking they would go on the road and upset a good North Carolina State team, but they expected to at least show signs of life after a 1-8 disaster in 2020. Instead, USF looked like the same old corpse. The offense was so ineffective in a 45-0 shellacking that true freshman QB Timmy McClain relieved starter Cade Fortin. On defense, the Wolfpack emptied the bench and still rolled up 571 yards total offense. It was the Bulls' third consecutive shutout loss in their FBS season opener.

Best offensive player: Based on the opener, we should probably skip this category. USF returned starters at every spot except QB, where it hoped Fortin would take control. Now the QB situation is a muddled mess. The most reliable player offensively is receiver Bryce Miller, who had 33 receptions in 2020.

South Florida head coach Jeff Scott leads his team onto the field prior to Thursday's game against North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C.

Best defensive player: The Bulls allowed 30 points or more in seven games all but two games last year, and NC State could have scored 60 if it wanted. That makes it hard to pinpoint a standout player, though linebacker Andrew Mims had 14 tackles last week. He and fellow linebacker Antonio Grier Jr. are overworked but dependable.

Fun fact: The most famous athlete in USF history didn’t play football or any other sport. Terry Bollea studied music, played bass in a band called Ruckus and liked to work out. Tampa was a pro wrestling hotbed in the 1970s, and a promoter spotted Bollea at a gym and talked him into giving that “sport” a shot. It was a good career move, especially after Bollea changed his name to Hulk Hogan.

Series: Florida faces USF for just the second time in school history. The Gators prevailed, 38-14, vs. USF in 2010 at The Swamp thanks to 139 yards and one TD from RB Jeff Demps and a 172-yard, two TD game (18-for-31) by QB John Brantley.

Quote: “Most teams make their biggest improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. That’s what we’re going to do. I really believe that.” — Tight end Mitchell Brinkman.